Autobiographies written by former players tend to not make my must read list very often. A lot of the time they are just pages of self-praise…how great I did this, how great I did that, how hard it was for me, and so on. Needless to say, I had some reservations when I started Mel Stottlemyre’s new book Pride and Pinstripes: The Yankees, Mets, and Surviving Life’s Challenges.
Thankfully – Stottlemyre delivers a refreshingly engaging book that manages to tell a story of a successful life in baseball, delivered with a genuinely human touch that doesn’t leave the reader tired of superlatives.
Stottlemyre is a Northwest product – growing up in Mabton, WA before being signed by the Yankees. He went on to pitch in the 1964 World Series, went on to 5 All-Star Games, and pitched for 10 years with the Yankees before a shoulder injury cut his career short. He’s also widely regarded as one of the best pitching coaches of the 1990s – most notably for his work with both the Mets and Yankees.
But while Stottlemyre could simply focus on the glory of his on-the-field experience – he is also very forthcoming about his off the field life – including the death of his 11-year-old son after a battle with leukemia, and his own battle with myeloma – a form of cancer.
Stottlemyre uses Pride and Pinstripes as both a form of therapy and as a way to tell his side of the story. He makes it very clear that life as a Yankee isn’t easy – from the requests for time and attention to dealing with George Steinbrenner, and the constant watch and judgment of the media and a rabid fan base.
Pride and Pinstripes is a very well balanced book that is light on self-promotion, but very forthcoming in dealing with life’s struggles. It’s a good read that a lot of baseball fans should appreciate.
What do you think about Pride and Pinstripes? Post your comments and join the discussion!